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Early Is As Rude As Being Late

My husband and I hosted a game night recently. We invited 6 couples for an evening of food, drinks and fun. We were coming out of a very busy season in our life and hadn’t been able to socialize much. We were excited to see our friends and have a great time.

The day of the event didn’t go well. I had to deal with several unexpected issues that came up in my business and we also had an issue with an extended family member we had to deal with. When I looked at my watch and it was 3:00 I realized with a sinking feeling because I hadn’t even cooked or cleaned. I tend to get overwhelmed and my husband, always the calm in the storm, encouraged me and said with some teamwork we could do it. We raced home, cleaned the house, did the cooking and voila! We were done with 90 minutes left to spare for me to clean myself up and do last minute prep.

I raced to the shower and afterwards while brushing my teeth I thought I heard voices but then just thought it must be the tv. I wrapped a towel around my head, put my robe on and exited our bedroom to do some other last minute prep things while my hair dried a bit.

Imagine my absolute SHOCK when I walked into my living room in this state to find a couple we had invited to game night sitting there chatting with my husband – who hadn’t cleaned up yet himself. They turned and saw me and probably the look of shock on my face and said, “We know you said 7 but we thought we would come early”. It was 5:55!!!!

To make it worse, these are our NEIGHBORS. Neighbors we don’t know well, I might add, because we are new to the neighborhood. They live 2 seconds away from us and they arrived over an HOUR early. Thank GOD I didn’t walk out with a towel wrapped around me like I usually do!

I did my best to recover and told them I would go get dressed and then my husband could go shower while I finished setting up for the party. I think it was obvious I was highly annoyed and flustered because at some point the neighbor said, “I’m sorry if us coming so early threw you off”. Mind you, they didn’t offer to help, not that I expected them to but it would have been a nice gesture since they had arrived so early.

I want people to realize that it is equally rude to show up early as it is to show up late! It puts the hostess in the awkward position of hosting before she is ready. Any particular strategy you would have used in this situation? 0730-18

I know that awkward position well.   I just continue to get prepared.

{ 70 comments }
{ 70 comments… add one }
  • AS August 6, 2018, 2:31 am

    As a friend of mine, who often hosted large parties had said- “I’d rather have someone come a few minutes late than early”. I agree with her sentiment when Hubby and I are hosting. When we travel long distance and end up early to a place, I have gone around until it is almost time for the party. I don’t want to be an uninvited guest, which is precisely what one would be if they go too early, because the invitation is not for later.

    Of course, my friend was referring to late or early by about 15 minutes! More than an hour early?!! What were they thinking?

  • Marie August 6, 2018, 2:43 am

    I would have mentioned to the neighbours: “you caught me at quite a bad time. Since you don’t live far away, would you mind coming back at 7, so my husband can shower and I can dress myself? I don’t feel comfortable doing so with people in the house.”

    If it’s people who come from far away and/or with public transport it’s easy to forgive because they can’t time their arrival precicely, but neighbours? I would seriously have thrown them out for another hour.

  • Tracy W August 6, 2018, 2:58 am

    I had a friend at high school whose dad would insist on dropping her off an hour early. She found it terribly embarrassing.

    I believe Miss Manners advice for early guests is to get them a drink, say “It’s so nice that we’ll get some time to chat, just us. Now there’s just a few things I must do, so you sit right there and I’ll be back shortly.”

    Then don’t come back until you’re ready. Or, depending on the layout of your house, dash past through with an airy “Nearly done!”

    Though there’s always “Oh so lovely to see you. Could you be a dear and help move the table?” Keep working through chores.

  • Anon August 6, 2018, 5:12 am

    If these people lived only down the street, SEND THEM HOME! “I’m so sorry, but today has been really hectic and we are unfortunately not going to be ready to receive guests until 7pm. Would you mind coming back then?” An hour before any party starts at my house is Defcon 1-level crazy. I feel as though I’m juggling 6 tasks at once, and I need all of my concentration to make sure everything happens. Arriving that early is so thoughtless and rude!

    • AM August 7, 2018, 11:24 pm

      I have nothing to add; just wanted to express my appreciation for getting the defense readiness condition right. So few people do.

  • knm August 6, 2018, 5:15 am

    I’m always weird about this stuff. In general I like to be early to most things. I’m the if you’re not early you’re late type. But for parties I try to be either 10 minutes early or 10 minutes late. That way I’m either first there and have a quick moment to chat with the hosts without feeling awkward like I’m barging in if they’re already talking to another guest. Or, if I’m a few minutes late then other people have already filtered in and I can greet them then. But again, I’m just socially awkward and if I’m invited to your house you probably know that about me. So none of my friends have ever minded.

    We do a lot of parties in my neighborhood and I personally love “our” style. Things start at a certain time, main dishes come later, it’s mostly potluck, and everyone is free to filter in and out as we like. It’s hard to be early, and impossible to be late. Works for us, but we’re all still in the “young kids” stage and formal meals with set times will have to wait until a little later in life.

  • eeek August 6, 2018, 6:39 am

    I have a good friend who, when she isn’t 20-30 minutes late, is 90 minutes early. She is a good friend, so I have no trouble saying “great to see you! I’m still flying around, so can’t stop to talk; here’s a magazine to read while you wait” or “Wonderful! The dog needs a walk – a good 30 minutes, at least – before people arrive. Would you prefer to do that, or finish making the salad while I do it?” After making it clear to her that her early arrival means interrupting my preparations and does not mean we get to start the party early, she arrives more or less on time.

    I think if my neighbors showed up early, I would hope to have the wherewithal to say something like, “Oh! It was so kind of you to check in early to see if we need help; but don’t worry – we have it all under control. Why don’t you head back home and come back in an hour, as planned?” Pretending they had kind intentions might take some of the sting out of kicking them out…

  • essie August 6, 2018, 6:52 am

    I remember my MIL telling me about HER in-laws arriving early, then just sitting in the car until the designated time. I thought that was a bit ostentatious; I’ll drive around or find a parking lot somewhere nearby and wait until it’s time to arrive.

    • Princess Buttercup August 6, 2018, 9:23 pm

      I’ve done that a time or two. I hate being late and think if the party is supposed to start at 6, then one should be there when it starts so try to show up between 5:45 and 5:55. But if I’m coming from a distance I’ll allow extra time in case traffic decides to play against me. A few times I’ve pulled off at a road side store or something and hubby asked why. “Well, it is 25 minutes until time for party to start and we are under five minutes away, so we’re going to kill a couple minutes here.” He believes the same as me about appropriate timing so he just say ok and plays with his phone for a bit.

  • Lauren August 6, 2018, 7:04 am

    Why didn’t you just ask them to come back in an hour?

  • J August 6, 2018, 7:07 am

    My parents are notorious in our family for being early! They just can’t help themselves and they are always afraid of being late. It has gotten so bad that our relatives will tell them the party starts at a later time because they know they will arrive early. Only just realized this when I was invited to a dinner at 6pm and my mom mentioned on the phone that she was told to come at 630pm.

  • Adereterial August 6, 2018, 7:19 am

    I’d have asked them to come back at 7pm, or handed them a mop and bucket whilst declaring how kind it was of them to volunteer to help with the cleaning.

  • Goldie August 6, 2018, 7:32 am

    I have opened the door many times with my makeup only done on one eye or my hair not done, etc, to a guest that decided to arrive early. However, like AS said, that was early by 15 minutes. Not by an hour! And they live on the same block, inconceivable.

    I kind of wish you’d have walked out with a towel wrapped around you, OP, maybe that would have clued them in to the fact that they might be doing something wrong.

  • LuJessMin August 6, 2018, 7:42 am

    My dad always insisted on leaving two hours early for everything. It took me years to finally show up “on time”.

  • DGS August 6, 2018, 7:44 am

    A few minutes early, I could understand, but a whole hour early?! I think all you can do is just continue to get prepared, and I would rope them in to help setup for the party.

  • viviennebzb August 6, 2018, 7:56 am

    I’d continue to do whatever I needed to get ready for the actual event and not worry about offending these clueless clods. Also, inform your DH that it is perfectly within his rights to turn them away at the door with a reminder of the party time. He didn’t have to let them in.

  • Margaret August 6, 2018, 8:03 am

    What would be wrong with, “So sorry, I’ve had a hard day at work and have been rushing around to get ready for tonight. Why don’t we just see you in an hour as planned?” And guide them to the door, since they live only 2 seconds away. Tell them to go catch the news and bring it back with them.

  • Jackie August 6, 2018, 8:05 am

    Would saying something like “Oh, I’m sorry, we aren’t quite ready to entertain yet, do you mind going home, and coming back in an hour, please?” be out of line.

    They would have been less amused with my state of dress, as I frequently walk out of the bathroom wearing only a towel, on my head.

  • Charliesmum August 6, 2018, 8:17 am

    I tend to be someone who believes it when someone tells me ‘it starts at 7’, so I aim to get there at 7. Sometime’s I’m a bit early, because I tend to worry about things like getting lost/traffic, etc. so I have slight sympathy to those who arrive early, but wow. An hour early? One time we did ‘arrive’ early for a party because it was in another state, and our timing was a bit off. I contacted my friend, explained the situation, and asked if we could come round early and help her set up. She said yes, and that’s what we did. If she’d said no, we’d have found something else to do with our time.

    Full disclosure though, I really hate it when people are late because I get really anxious that no one is going to show up for my party! 🙂

    • Just Call Me J August 7, 2018, 7:08 am

      I feel you on the late arrivals.

      I once had a party planned for 2pm… when it hit 2:45 and nobody had arrived, I started wondering if I should just cancel it.

      Fortunately, the first guests arrived shortly after I started trying to figure out *how* to cancel it… They were surprised they were the first to arrive, since they’d tried to time it to arrive after things were in full swing.

      • Livvy17 August 9, 2018, 9:31 am

        I HATE THIS. Super-late arrivals were the bane of my existence when I used to entertain more, and part of the reason I rarely do any formal/big parties anymore. If everyone shows up at the same time, the party will START in “full-swing.”
        My feeling is there is about a 20 minute window for considerate arrivals. 5 minutes before start time, MAX 15 minutes after. I do aim to be exactly on time, and as I frequently arrive early, I’ll take a tour of the neighborhood, grab a soda (or a small gift) from a local store, or just play on my phone until the designated hour. If the weather is really bad, or the guests are coming from very far away, of course that window is bigger, and really early arrivals would either be handed a drink and parked in front of TV, given a chance to freshen up, and/or put to work if close/family. Neighbors would be encouraged to go home, or if they didn’t get that clue, put to work.

        • NicoleDSK August 11, 2018, 11:41 am

          I agree, with exceptions for those coming from further off who might have timed it wrong

  • Jewel August 6, 2018, 8:21 am

    This reminds me of a cringe time when I was the early guest, but completely by accident. A neighbor asked me to sub for her at bunco and told me it started at 6:30. I showed at the address “on time” just to find no one else there and a shocked hostess. I excused myself and came back 30 minutes later when everyone else arrived. Sadly, I don’t think the hostess ever realized that the “regular” member told me the wrong time. So, somewhere in my neighborhood is a woman who thinks I’m either terribly rude or dumb!

  • Bunny August 6, 2018, 8:24 am

    I think arrival time +/- 15 minutes is probably the limit of acceptable. Some exceptions like family coming long distance, delays did to traffic etc.

    If I’m hosting, I try to be ready 30 mins early (bar last minute food prep that can’t be done earlier). If I’m the guest I will be early… by about 5 minutes! If I’m earlier than that I’ll drive around or park up nearby. Only exception is my best friend who is 90 mins away where I will aim for 15 mins early because a) I’m usually bringing some of the food, b) I’m always staying overnight and I think it’s polite to have my bag tucked away before other guests arrive and c) I know my way around the house and will always pitch in setting up or whatever else needs doing, which helps and also frees up the husband for door/greeting duty. They have always expressly said to me “7pm but you aim for 6.45” or similar, so I know they’re ok with it.

    But an hour early when you’re on the same street? Horrifying!

  • Morgana August 6, 2018, 8:38 am

    It seems that people have forgotten that “fashionably late” was started as a way to avoid crowding the hosts if they were delayed in their prep. And “fashionably late” meant 15 minutes.

  • gramma dishes August 6, 2018, 8:47 am

    Next time, don’t answer the door!

  • Nina Fairchild August 6, 2018, 8:56 am

    I would guess that these folks may have been an older generation? My folks arrive very early for things and they say its because they were taught that when you are invited to someone’s house, you go an hour early, eat, and leave immediately after eating, where as my generation typically arrives late, eats, then visits afterwards. I never could convince her shes wrong, because she says this was the practise in her generation, where she lived (midwest).

    • Skaramouche August 6, 2018, 11:46 pm

      This sounds SO weird to me!! Were these dinner parties to which they were invited at 7 with dinner being served at 7? If so, it make sense as long as every is aware of the “1 hour early” rule. Otherwise, it’s so bizarre!

    • Tan August 7, 2018, 4:37 am

      I was about to say something similar. My old friends view the time stated as the time something is happening so you should get there ~half hour before i.e. if I said lets have dinner, come round 730 they would turn up at 7. Whereas my newer friends tend to view a given time as a no early than time. So would turn up somewhere between 730 and 8. I think whether early or late is polite depends on the social dynamic /culture. Quite simply you may get it wrong once but next time you will be right. Or you could always ask someone what they mean when they say “come around 730”

      • Livvy17 August 9, 2018, 9:35 am

        I live in the midwest, and I haven’t heard about this generational thing. One way to counter might be to invite with “cocktails and conversation starting at 6:30, dinner served at 7:00.”

  • sillyme August 6, 2018, 9:08 am

    Maybe I’m a cynic, but I don’t think these people are real friends, especially if you are new neighbors. It seems like this was a little expedition to find out what your house — and you — are like without time to prep. Sounds cynical, but I’ve known people like this, who show up early specifically to snoop (if we show up early we can find out what they might be hiding) and play “gotcha,” then can go around criticizing behind your backs. Our social workers did this. Finally they caught me sorting laundry into piles the floor. Apparently they’d never heard of separating your lights from your darks, your delicates from your durables. You’d have thought I was sorting dead bodies.

  • Sarah August 6, 2018, 9:14 am

    They’re neighbors who live nearby? I would have asked them to go home and come back at 7.
    And next time you entertain…be ready half an hour before people are supposed to come.

    • KarenK August 7, 2018, 10:08 am

      I don’t think the OP needs to alter their behavior. If that’s something you can do, more power to you!

  • shoegal August 6, 2018, 11:10 am

    You do not go to a party that early unless you make the host/hostess completely aware of it first. If they say it’s ok – then it is ok. I live an hour away from my family – I don’t have the luxury of going home first before any of their events. The times I have been invited anywhere we are already in town when a party happens since we work there. But it also means that when work ends I have hours before the event usually begins. There is no time to drive home because it would mean I would have to turn around and drive back as soon as I got there and I don’t want to stay at work. Who does? I usually notify the person that we would be way early if that’s ok – and it usually is. I always offer to help – and I don’t expect the host/ hostess to stop what they are doing in order to entertain me. The people that are hosting know our situation so they accommodate me and I’m very grateful. When my sister has a party I go over early and help with everything so it is easier on her and not a imposition. When I have a party, I am happy to have family members over early since they help but I really don’t appreciate it any other way. If someone came hours early and I was still setting up and cooking/cleaning I would be annoyed. One year my aunt came hours early – nobody else was there and I was in the middle of everything – I couldn’t stop to chat with her, I had to keep working.

    • staceyizme August 6, 2018, 4:58 pm

      Sometimes a coffee shop or bookstore is a lifesaver. I have the same experience in that about 1/2 of my social circle is some distance away. When there is a break between events, I’m at loose ends. I couldn’t bring myself to impose on someone, however, for hours. Even with the offer to help, it’s a hardship on the host and hostess and I can’t help but think about how I’d react to having someone in my space for hours beyond what was planned. As a one-off? No problem. As a practice? No, thank you. You live where you live and work where you work. Me too. Dealing with the fallout from that shouldn’t be the burden of your family who live closer, in my view. If you want to help and don’t want to stay at work, maybe offer to pick up some of the food and decor on your way over? It will slow down your time of arrival and take some stress off of the hosts too. Win-win.

  • lakey August 6, 2018, 11:13 am

    I just hope they learned from this. If I arrive early, I keep myself busy until the start time by stopping in a store, getting coffee somewhere, or playing games on my phone. Even if I were 15 minutes early, I would stall. I don’t know what I would do if someone showed up an hour early at my home, because I’ve never had that happen.

    • staceyizme August 6, 2018, 4:50 pm

      Exactly! I’m always early! But I never knock until it’s just the start time or a very few minutes (at most) before or after.

    • Kate August 10, 2018, 5:58 am

      Yep. I would never arrive that early if I was within walking distance and if I drove somewhere and arrived early, I’d go and get a coffee, window shop or read in my car.

  • Exbremensis August 6, 2018, 12:22 pm

    My mother taught me to be always 5 minutes late. This gives the hostess/host a chance either to relax or do some last minute preparations. You are never early! That would put unneccesary stress on your hostess/host.

    • BellyJean August 7, 2018, 7:56 am

      Yes, please. Thank you!! 🙂

    • Goldie August 7, 2018, 3:44 pm

      I like this approach a lot! When I was married, my husband was the one who insisted on being exactly on time. We were always the first to arrive, and the hosts and we would then awkwardly wait for 15 minutes or more for the next guests. One day I’d had enough and told my husband, “I’m tired of us always being the first through the door at every party, like we are the hungriest”. That argument worked and we proceeded to arrive “fashionably late” to all future parties.

      • Livvy17 August 9, 2018, 9:44 am

        It’s a shame that you felt you had to change your perfectly reasonable behavior due to other people’s rude lateness. “Fashionably Late” keeps getting pushed back when no one wants to be the first to arrive.

    • NicoleDSK August 11, 2018, 11:45 am

      I hate people who come late on purpose. I have usually finished everything that can be prepper about an hour before the invite so at that point I am sitting around wondering if people are going to show up. They always do but I always worry

      • NicoleDSK August 11, 2018, 11:45 am

        Being late on purpose is cruel. It says your time is more important than the work the hostess put in

  • Lara August 6, 2018, 1:33 pm

    Wow. Well, I think you did the right thing, although perhaps you should have given them jobs to do. If they don’t like it, then maybe they won’t arrive super early again. If they actually don’t mind helping, then it helps get past the awkwardness and makes the time go by.

    Maybe this couple was just inexperienced in socializing, maybe it’s an indicator that they are lonely for friendships and eager to spend time with you. My thought is that if someone is going to act like family (showing up early unannounced), then you should treat them like family, which includes being informal and expecting them to help out.

  • Nan August 6, 2018, 1:58 pm

    I’ve been “That Guest”. When I was a youngster a friend and I went to a religious gathering in a private home we’d never been before, allowed wayyyy too much travel time, and wound up sitting awkwardly on the couch for nearly an hour as the hostess repeatedly turned down our offers of help with setup. With the advantage of hindsight, we should have driven around the block for a while or found a Denny’s to sit at.

  • MM August 6, 2018, 2:41 pm

    I am punctual to a fault – often I’m the one waiting at a restaurant for my friends to arrive. But I usually find something to do if I’m going to someone’s house and I’m there early (I spent twenty minutes browsing through magazines at a cvs once). I can’t imsgine why they would come over an hour early from their own house which is walking distance. Not unavoidable! Why not just hang at home have a beer wat h some tv to pass the time?!

  • Dawn Stafford August 6, 2018, 3:23 pm

    Since they only live 2 seconds away, you should have said, with a smile, “Oh my goodness, we’re not even close to being ready for you! Can you please come back at 7?” Maybe they’ll get a clue…

    -Dawn

  • Hanna August 6, 2018, 4:12 pm

    THE WORST!! We had this happen once. It wasn’t formal, but my husband was having a group meeting at our house (so I wasn’t hosting and there was no dinner, prep work etc) and one of the newer members showed up 1.5 hours early. It gets better. He didn’t even KNOCK on our door. Just walked in! While, mind you, we were cuddling on the couch watching TV. He then waltzes through my house, proclaims he’s some type of “artist” and critiques the pieces I have hanging up on the wall and then says “Still looks like a Bachelor’s pad”! (My husband and I had gotten married several months before.) Jerk.

    (We’d have told him “meeting doesn’t start till 7, see you then!” but my husband answered the door and knew this person rode his bike here all the way from the other side of town so didn’t feel good shooing him off.)

  • staceyizme August 6, 2018, 4:48 pm

    Just because they knock doesn’t mean you have to answer. It’s easily excused with “we were distracted and are so sorry to have missed you… we weren’t expecting company until 7 pm.” Nobody would blame you. It’s a natural consequence for the cluelessly early. AND you still get to spend your last 60 minutes getting ready. Bonus- you’re training them. They aren’t likely to try a stunt like that again if you turn them away by not answering. (Or you can answer, if that’s your style, and say “oh, we’ll see you at 7 pm!”) Either way, you don’t have to let them in and you certainly don’t need the excuse of other hardships or difficulties to extenuate your desire to remain in control of your home’s schedule of entertaining.

  • Vera August 6, 2018, 5:16 pm

    The first time we had invited my SIL and BIL for dinner, we received a phone call from their daughter that SIL/BIL were planning on arriving 1.5 hours early, because they wanted to beat any traffic on the highway (it was a 3 hour drive). Our nieces had told them that it was rude to arrive so early but they were insistent. Thanks to the heads up, we were ready for them and everything turned out fine. (And there is no way my husband would not open the door to his sister and brother-in-law.)

  • NostalgicGal August 6, 2018, 5:36 pm

    It depends. I used to live in a very large city with a useable public transit (bus) system. However on weekends it could get strange. I was going a pretty serious distance to hang with some friends and started out early because being a veteran of riding that system, knowing how bad it could be unless it was the commuter rush hour when they had enough buses on… and I arrived a few hours early. I apologized nicely and explained with one word-BUS. We all regrouped and had a good time anyways, but. I could see where one planned for various variables and ended up either low or high on the time, but. These were the NEIGHBORS. One minute of transit time versus five transfers and schedules maybe not being on time (so one has to wait)….

  • Hannah August 6, 2018, 5:47 pm

    20 minutes is my cusp of “early.” More than that and you just showed up at the wrong time.

    This happened to me once. I was also having a game night and a friend showed up 40 minutes “early”. So I handed him a shopping list, told him to take no less than a half hour, and turned him right back around. If you’re going to come during my prep time, you’re going to help me prep. In the end, it wasn’t a bad situation; I didn’t pay for booze that night and people don’t arrive at my house early anymore.

  • LEMon August 6, 2018, 7:27 pm

    I’m wondering if, since they were from just next door, you couldn’t say “I’m sorry. This is too early for me. Could you please come back at seven?”
    What do others think?

  • Catherine St. Clair August 6, 2018, 8:12 pm

    This is one of those times when you have to go with the flow unless you can come up with a polite way to tell them to go home and to come back at 7. Say, “We were not expecting anyone this early, but, since you are here, we could use some help getting things ready. I’ll run get dressed and then we can all set up while my husband gets ready. Now, if you would like to…”

  • WendyB August 6, 2018, 9:25 pm

    My mom loves to host events (me, not so much). We have a handful of friends who are welcome to come early…they know they’ll be asked to pitch in, and usually volunteer, and we’re all comfortable enough with each other that we have a good time. But we’ve had people show up hours early like this and just sit around and it is extremely frustrating. My mom solved it by giving them something to do. They usually find that they can either refuse, and look like the boors they are, or do as asked…and they usually don’t show up that early again.

    Then there was the couple mom didn’t want to invite, but did to be polite. They sat in our living room (everyone else was outside) and expected mom to wait on them. She got them drinks and then went outside and left them to their own devices.

  • Kay_L August 6, 2018, 11:19 pm

    My husband and I once planned a big even at our home that included his band playing. Since his drummer was unavailable last minute, they had a sub come and rehearse with them the afternoon of the event. The problem was that the drummer brought his girlfriend with him and I was expected to host her! This was a few hours before the event and I was still in the process of making dishes and putting them out. There was a tray of sandwiches on the table.

    So, then she’s hungry and wants food. Does she want a sandwich? They’re on the table, easy to grab one and relieve the hunger. No, of course not!

    She wants to go through my fridge and see what else there is. Oh, there are turkey burgers! Oh good!

    No, not good. Those are for the guest of honor who has certain dietary issues. There are two of them and they were grilled the night before. She is insistent.

    I am equally insistent that they are not available to eat. So, then she decides that some shrimp will do and I have to get out the shrimp ring that was defrosting nicely in the fridge and make sure that it is completely defrosted so she can dig into it!

    Can you tell that after years I am still ticked about this?

    So, then she proceeds to tell the guest of honor later, that I haven’t been as hospitable to her as a good host should be.

    The same event, I had a guest arrive completely soaked to the skin. It was raining and for some reason this person decided to ride to my home in the back of someone’s pick up truck.

    Not only was I supposed to find this person dry clothes for him to wear I was to dry his wet, already worn clothes in my dryer!

    So, now…. I just say “no, I’m sorry.” Over and over, it necessary.

    I’m hungry, could I have some of the food? “No, I’m sorry.” How about some shrimp? ” No, I’m sorry…”

    Do you have any spare sweat pants I can wear? “No, sorry.”

    I’m gearing up for a garage sale in a few weeks. And any requests to use the bathroom in my house or go into my house will be met with “No, sorry.” I don’t care if they’re dancing around ready to wet to their pants. No one gets to come inside.

    I don’t understand why the people in this story did not tell the people who came early that it was throwing them off and that they should come back later. Could we stay until then? ” No, sorry.”

    Who wants to dislike their neighbor? This would make me dislike them very much! Make them go home and come back. And if they don’t want to come back? Well, that’s their choice!

    • The OP August 8, 2018, 8:31 pm

      Did you read the story??? I didn’t ask them to leave because I came out dressed indecently with a towel wrapped around my head. I didn’t ask them to leave because my husband had already invited them in and they were sitting there, drinks in hand, having a chat. Had I not been in the bathroom when they arrived and I heard their knock, I simply would not have answered. In this scenario I was blindsided and responded impulsively because I was embarrassed.

  • Andrea C. August 7, 2018, 8:54 am

    I had an early/late situation 10 years ago. I was in a new city for the summer for an internship. I had made friends with co-workers. I also had college friends who had relocated to new city. I was supposed to go to a festival with the co-workers for 11 AM. They came at 2 PM. (I wondered around for 3 hours and went to booths…) I was pretty ticked. They said that they couldn’t find a parking spot, but they could have taken public transportation (and it was a huge festival, so the city encouraged this), or they could have easily walked there. I left at 2:30 PM to go to a barbecue for 3 PM at college friend’s house.

    I arrive at his house. His roommates looked surprised to see me. I said, “Sorry, I’m late!” His gf said, “You’re early! The party doesn’t start until 6!” Apparently, friend had changed the time and didn’t tell me. He apologized, but it was kind of awkward at first, arriving almost 3 hours early. But I was invited to stay, and I helped get the coolers ready, made dips, etc., etc.

  • Anonymous August 7, 2018, 4:54 pm

    What about situations where it isn’t quite clear whether or not you should follow the social convention of being “on time or fashionably late,” as one does when visiting someone’s house, or “on time is late” like you would for school/work/rehearsal/a movie or live performance with a stated start time? I’ve been involved in various bands, orchestras, smaller chamber ensembles, choirs, and theatrical projects through the years, and last summer, I got cast in an original musical written by a local woman, who was also directing said musical.

    She announced that the first rehearsal would be at “123 Blahblah Street” the following Thursday at 7 p.m. Okay, great. I later confirmed that this was her home. “123 Blahblah Street” was in an obscure suburb quite a distance from me, and I don’t have a car. I Googled the directions, gave myself lots of travel time, and bicycled to her house, only to find myself about half an hour early. I didn’t want to circle the block, because it was pretty hot outside, and because the streets went on forever, so I waited outside and played on my phone.

    Presently, her husband pulled in the driveway, and I explained why I was there, and said that I knew I was early, and I’d wait outside. He let me in, and had me park my bike in the garage (I’d brought a lock, but there was nothing to lock it to outside), but she seemed put out, and had me wait on the back patio. I apologized and said that I hadn’t meant to be *that* early; I’d only meant to be a little early, because I assumed that she’d meant to start rehearsal at 7; so she was expecting us a bit before that, so we could start actually rehearsing right at 7. This conversation happened around 6:40. A few minutes later, another actor arrived, and she was directed to the patio as well. 7 p.m. came, and everyone else started trickling in, and we ended up starting a bit after 7; partly because writer/director was preoccupied preparing a spread of food, which was a bit weird, because you can’t eat and sing at the same time, and our primary reason for being there was to rehearse the musical. She actually seemed a bit dismayed that people were more interested in the musical than the food. She also seemed slightly annoyed with me for having parked my bike in her garage, even though I had her husband’s permission.

    Anyway, the first rehearsal went pretty normally after that, but then, soon after I got home, I got an e-mail saying that I was dismissed from the show. I think it might have been because I arrived early, but I think the expectations were a bit unclear there. When you’re a guest in someone’s house, it’s polite to arrive on time or slightly late, so as not to catch the hosts off guard. When you’re going to a rehearsal with a stated start time and an agenda (for example, that night’s agenda was to read and sing through the script as a group for the first time), you arrive slightly early, because you know there’s a lot to do, and you don’t want to be the person who prevents the group from being able to start and end on time. When you’re going somewhere you haven’t been to before, you allow enough time to get lost, and then wait outside if you arrive too early because you don’t get lost.

    In my case, I figured that “on time is late” applied, because it was still a rehearsal, and it was only the first one that’d be at the director’s home; the rest would be at a community centre downtown. I meant to arrive around 6:45, but gave myself extra time to get there in case I got lost. I attempted to wait outside until 6:45, but the director’s husband let me in when he saw me waiting. Writer/director then waited until after rehearsal, and cut me out of the picture, by e-mail, before any of the subsequent rehearsals, which were to be held in a centrally located, public venue with places to put bicycles, where none of this would have been an issue. I know I didn’t behave perfectly, but what’s everyone else’s take on this?

    • Kay_L August 7, 2018, 11:13 pm

      I believe you dodged a bullet. There is nothing quite so frustrating as a director who is not professional with clear expectations and organization.

      She likely got rid of you because you had reasonable expectations and she didn’t want to be held to account. As far as I can see, for the situation you didn’t do anything wrong.

      It is well known in acting/musician circles that “early is on time and on time is late.” This wasn’t a social call it was a rehearsal. So, count your lucky stars. It probably would have been a very unpleasant experience.

      • Anonymous August 8, 2018, 2:16 pm

        Yeah…..the other thing is, this woman never wrote down any of the music in her musical. She “wrote” the songs by singing them to her brother, who then transcribed them by ear, except she didn’t have the scores on her, because her brother lives far away. I found out, about two months later, from another member of the creative team, that I’d been replaced because the woman who’d played my role in a previous performance run, had expressed interest in playing the role again after I’d already been cast, so Writer/Director changed her mind after the fact.

        • Kay_L August 9, 2018, 12:27 pm

          That sounds like a complete nightmare! I’m a singer–I need sheet music to read, or at least a tape to listen to so that I can learn it.

          It really bothers me when people think they can get away with “writing songs” by humming a tune to someone else. It makes me wonder how much of the work is actually her own.

          It’s not that hard to learn to write it down yourself–it might not be perfect but it’d be workable.

          I think you dodged more than a bullet!

          • Anonymous August 10, 2018, 6:18 pm

            Yeah, a lot of other people in the cast asked about the music thing too–most of us learned by reading music, but Writer/Director said that she’d done that musical with thirteen-year-olds, and they learned it by ear just fine. I could see (or hear) why; the music was your typical C-major-ish sound, mostly major thirds and perfect fifths; basically, the pitches that the human ear is most used to hearing, and the voice is most used to producing; at least in Western societies. But, I definitely agree that writing down the music would have been easier, and less time-consuming, than singing it to a third party and having him write it down. Also, don’t quote me on this, but if the music was never written down, I don’t think she’ll ever be able to sell her musical to MTI or any of the other major rights holders. But, back to the main point; I’m glad I wasn’t being rude by planning to arrive 15 minutes early, arriving slightly earlier because I’d built in time to get lost, and then being thwarted in my attempt to wait outside after I hadn’t gotten lost. It was really just good intentions run amok.

    • AM August 7, 2018, 11:36 pm

      I think you were fine. I don’t know what her problem was.

  • Semperviren August 8, 2018, 10:25 am

    Different rules apply to different situations. For a job interview, I’d arrive 5 -10 minutes early. For a rehearsal, arrive 5-10 minutes early. For a meeting, on time. Social outing at a restaurant, on time. A party at someone’s home, 5-10 minutes after the announced start time.

    Early arrivals for a social occasion at my home is a HUGE peeve for me. I like to do last minute finishing touches and have a minute to breathe before people walk in, I have a list, and things timed, and I hate having people arrive on my doorstep all pleased with themselves like they’re going to get a gold star from the punctuality gods for showing up 15 minutes early. Those are MY 15 minutes, and they’re stealing them.

  • A Person August 8, 2018, 4:02 pm

    My trick for avoiding things like OP’s neighbors is this:

    If I leave very close by, I’ll leave my house five minutes before party’s start time. That guarantees I arrive right on time or a little after, and by then the host is ready for guests.

    • A Person August 8, 2018, 4:03 pm

      Argh. Lack of brain cells today… if I LIVE very close by, not leave close by.

  • Madam Wu August 9, 2018, 11:17 am

    I had guests come ONE WEEK early! Back in my twenties I shared a house with another woman. We were pretty wild and loved to throw wild parties. Since our birthdays were close together, we decided to throw a wild party for her on Saturday, and since the house was clean etc., throw a more sedate party for my work and older friends the next Saturday. So imagine my surprise when I opened the door (wearing my thigh high boots and corset) to see my ex-boyfriend, who was 18 years older than me, and his lady friend–who were invited to the party the NEXT Saturday. I explained that the party they were invited to was next week. Of course they saw a party going on and said why can’t we come to this one? I WAS NOT going to let them in and turned them away, saying come back next week. Ended the friendship–oh well!

  • MPW1971 August 9, 2018, 12:08 pm

    Arriving really early is forgivable for an out-of-town guest – someone who had a drive of more than 2 hours – but walking in an hour early from next door is weird. They weren’t close family and they weren’t helping set up – I don’t get it at all.
    In the age of cell phones, nobody ever seems to drop in unannounced anymore – a text or a call saves the trouble of arriving at an empty house, or worse, someone who is just too busy to entertain.

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